Austria investigates Greek man as suspected spy for Russia

December 19, 2022 GMT

BERLIN (AP) — A Greek national is under investigation in Austria for allegedly spying for Russia for years, the Austrian government said Monday.

The Interior Ministry said that the 39-year-old, who is not currently in detention, has Russian roots and is the son of a former Russian intelligence employee who was once stationed as a diplomat in Austria and neighboring Germany. It said that he is believed to have received “military special training” in Russia and was in Moscow shortly before and during the invasion of Ukraine.

The suspect barely worked and received only limited benefits in Austria, but was able to make 65 journeys within Europe and to Russia and Belarus between 2018 and early 2022, and also to acquire several properties in Vienna, Russia and Greece, the ministry said.

He is believed to have handed over information at locations in Vienna. Austrian authorities suspect that he was tapped as a source for information on discussions inside Austria to gauge possible foreign reactions ahead of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

A search of the suspect’s properties turned up a device to detect signals from bugs and hidden cameras as well as protective clothing, the Interior Ministry said. Cellphones, laptops and tables were seized.